English II Honors
20 March 2013
Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was one of the first dramas to talk about modern issues. The play caught many people off guard because it talked about characters in real life situations. The main character in A Doll’s House, Nora is neither the protagonist nor antagonist. But she has a combination of good and bad characteristics. Nora’s husband, Torvald, is the same as Nora in that he is neither good nor bad. By looking at this perspective, the characters can take on social issues that are very difficult without any problem. One major issue that Ibsen brings to his audience is gender roles.
The first instance between Nora and Torvald reveals the nature of their relationship. “Is that my little lark twittering out there?” Torvald says. (Act I, page 4) Later in the story, he calls her “my little squirrel”, (Act I, page 4) “my little spendthrift”, (Act I, page 4) and many other pet names. After the party, he Torvald says “Why shouldn’t I look at my dearest treasure?—at all the beauty that is mine, all my very own?” (Act III, page 65) On page 5, Nora asks Torvald for some money like a child would ask their parent for money. These examples show how he views Nora’s relationship to him. He never gets her opinion on anything and leaves no responsibility to her. Nora is more of a possession and an amusement to him than a lover and companion. This does not say that Torvald is a bad husband, but his actions represent the opinions accepted in the male-dominated society during this time period. Torvald is not the only one who has issues when it comes to personality. Nora is far more complex to understand.
Nora is treated like a child and continues to act like one. This is true in the way she sneaks sweets into her pocket and lies to Torvald about it. But then again, she throws a tantrum to keep Torvald from checking the mailbox. She says, “The letter—No! Torvald, No!” (Act III,...